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Do ADs help brain fog?

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by Battery Muncher, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. Battery Muncher

    Battery Muncher Senior Member

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    Just interested in the experiences of people who have used anti-depressants. Has it helped your brain fog?
     
  2. Living Dead

    Living Dead Senior Member

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    Generally they would increase the brain fog because they increase brain activity, thereby increasing the demand for ATP, thereby depleting ATP, which is cell fuel. Low cell fuel = brain fog. Also, increased activity can mean increased inflammation or sensitization in any brain area where this is already a problem (like constantly picking a scar).

    Lioresal (baclofen) decreases brain fog for me.
     
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  3. Battery Muncher

    Battery Muncher Senior Member

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    Thanks for responding Living Dead. That certainly makes sense - though I'm still willing to here contrasting experiences, of course.

    Out of interest, do you know of any ADs that don't increase brain activity? Will look into baclofen, thanks!
     
  4. anna8

    anna8 Senior Member

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    Hi I have and still do to a less extent suffer from brain fog!
    I have tried a few antidepressant but for me if anything they have made my worse!
    The only thing in the past that has help is improving gut function and any thing that helps with consipation!
    I feel I have got a infection going on in my jaw bone but I am find it hard to get diagnosed which is common once it is considered to be chronic, I do thing any infection going on in the body will course brain fog!
    I recently found I a water/kidney infection but because I feel so awful must of the time I didn,t recognized anything was wrong until I could hardly remembered my own name! My point is infection/bacteria is a big course of brain fog!
    Not sure what else you have tried so far?
    Anna x
     
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  5. nanonug

    nanonug Senior Member

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    I tried too antidepressants for brain fog: Effexor XR (venlafaxine) and Wellbutrin XL (bupropion). None of these helped with brain fog. Effexor XR basically did nothing for me except getting me sleepier. Wellbutrin XL made me happier and thinner (lost almost 30 pounds) but didn't help in terms of brain fog. The only think that appears to be helping is galantamine. However, the jury is still out has I have been taking this for a couple of days only. Interestingly enough, it only helps in conjunction with desmopressin to deal with central diabetes insipidus, hypovolemia and consequent reduction of blood flow to the brain.

    If you'd like, have a look at my thread where I'll be documenting the effect of galantamine: On Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Hot Chicks.

    PS. Another thing that I tried and helped was nicotine, in the form of nicotine patch...
     
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  6. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    When i was first ill with cfs the brain fog was terrible, out of desperation i tried a low dose of zoloft, not expecting much from it as they say 2 weeks to notice any effects, well with a few hours it felt like my whole brain had switched on and the fog lifted. it worked well for the brain fog for a couple of years but eventually stopped working. I still had fatigue etc but it was helpful initially. All u can do is try it and use a low dose eg 1/4 of a normal dose. The other thing about ad's if u can tolerate them is that they dont fix too many things but they to help u feel better about feeling like crap which is helpful for some.

    cheers!!
     
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  7. nanonug

    nanonug Senior Member

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    "Feeling better about feeling like crap" is indeed a good characterization of how Wellbutrin makes me feel! :)
     
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  8. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    I tried amitripiline but was unable to find a dose that helped with pain but left me clear in the head. The side effects were so severe in terms of grogginess, increased fainting, brain fog to the brain "death" level and stomach problems. Over time, instead of the side effects getting better they go worse. Decreasing the dosage made no difference. After that I did try some other AD's (sorry forgotten the name) and although some had less side effects there were no good effects for me in any of my ME related symptoms.
     
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  9. Living Dead

    Living Dead Senior Member

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    They don't market them as antidepressants if they don't increase brain activity. Maybe if you are more specific about what symptoms that are bothering you the most I could list some medications that could affect it.
     
  10. Battery Muncher

    Battery Muncher Senior Member

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    Thanks for the comments all! They've been very interesting and helpful

    Living dead: Fair enough! I'm not sure what you're looking for, but have general problems reading, short term memory, and conversation (goes too fast for me to keep up, difficult to think of responses etc)
     
  11. dannybex

    dannybex Senior Member

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    Ages ago my bosses insisted I go to a "real" doctor and get some "real" drugs (AD's of course). Each one made me worse and worse, weaker and weaker, and more despondent. I wouldn't touch 'em with a ten thousand foot pole.
     
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  12. adreno

    adreno Homo neanderthalensis

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    ADs are a broad category. Some might help more than others. Bupropion is more likely to improve cognition than say, amitriptyline.

    In general, if you have depression, this can include cognitive problems. Taking an AD is likely to help in that situation. If you don't have depression, less likely so.

    The problem is that brain fog can have many causes, including inflammation, electrolyte imbalances, depression, hormonal problems, lack of energy aso. So it can be a tough job to figure out the problem.
     
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  13. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    anti depressants made me feel a whole load worse.
     
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  14. nanonug

    nanonug Senior Member

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    Have a look at galantamine, then.
     
  15. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    There seems to be very little research on the biochemistry of brain fog, ie, research on what actually causes brain fog.

    (Though if anyone has any links to articles or papers on the biochemistry of brain fog, I'd be very interested.)

    Brain fog is also called clouding of consciousness. The more severe form of this mental state is known as delirium.
     
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  16. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois Prairie ❀❤✿Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ✿❤❀

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    Years ago, during the 'psychologising' phase of my illness and long before I had any idea it was ME/CFS, I was given several ADs. I do not remember what they were. None of them helped. All of them hurt. The worst thing they did was shut down my higher level reasoning ability, which was made still worse by the fact that I did not recognize it until the last one.

    I had a 3-day week-end and was taking an 'in-apartment vacation'. I decided to also take a drug vacation and stopped taking my AD.* I had a jigsaw puzzle I was putting together. I got it almost done, but could not get the last few pieces. I am a very procedurally oriented person (former mainframe programmer). I tried fitting each piece into the existing puzzle and I tried fitting the remaining pieces to each other. Nothing worked. I was getting frustrated. I decided since the point of the puzzle was having fun and I was not having fun anymore that I should quit.

    I went to bed and slept 12 - 15 hours. I got up, had something to eat, and read the newspaper. I was thinking about going back to bed when I remembered I should water my houseplants. I saw the puzzle on a table near the plants. I quickly saw where one piece would fit in. Then I saw where another would go, and another. I could feel the fog lifting and my thinking clearing as I finished the puzzle. I also realized that I had experienced a less sudden, and thus less noticeable, 'fog lifting' every time I had stopped an AD. I had no sense of the increased fog while I was on them. I did resume taking the AD so that I could do a proper tapering off.

    *NOTE: I do NOT recommend that anyone just quit taking an AD (or any other medication) without their doctor's approval.
     
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  17. Living Dead

    Living Dead Senior Member

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    Right, so you're looking for something to help with brain fog, not depression. Brain fog could have several causes:
    Nutritient deficiency (gives low ATP production)
    The nutritients required for production of ATP (body and brain energy molecules) can be found at Dr. Sarah Myhill's website. I remember Carnitine, Q10 and NADH off the top of my head, I think there's one more, though. B12 also is necessary for the nervous system to work.

    Nutrient deficiency (gives high ATP consumption/depletion)
    Magnesium can help your brain slow down so as to not burn all the energy at once.

    Need rest
    Keep resting (relax your mind). Do it over and over again. Rest 10 minutes for every 12 minutes active over and over again even if it does not seem to help right away. After 4 days at the earliest you may start to see a difference. If you can't seem to deeply relax your mind, then that's a problem you need to solve first.

    Medications to slow down ATP consumption
    Benzodiazepines (like Klonopin), Baclofen, Opiates, Antihistamines (hydroxyzine), Neuronin. All slow down your brain, making the energy reserves last longer.

    Inflammation
    If you have an active immune system it affects the brain. Things that could reduce inflammation are steroids (like Prednisone) or licorice (1-2 tsp of licorice powder, not licorice root powder, not DGL licorice powder). If you've got swollen lymph nodes that is a sign of this problem.

    Low blood CO2
    Low blood CO2 ("hyperventilation") causes brain fog right down to fainting in the worst case. The cells aren't getting oxygen. Force yourself to breathe less. Count your breath. Less than 6 seconds per breath is hyperventilation. Also if you've got tingling in your fingers, feet or face then it's a sign of hyperventilation.

    I hope some of this helps.
     
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  18. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6?

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    I took a combination drug called Motival for about 3 months, I think. This contains an antipsychotic - fluphenazine - and an AD - nortriptyline. It was a very low dose, for IBS. This was when my ME was in its very early stages and I had no idea what was wrong, and was also severely depressed due to life events. Then for a few days I tried Prozac in addition, for the depression. It gave me even worse insomnia and agitation than I had already, and I could not tolerate this 'settling in' phase. I stopped both and, like you, felt a fog lift, which I had not realised had been there. I felt alive again, able briefly to enjoy hearing the birds and feeling the sun, before depression dragged me down again.

    I have not had depression since this initial phase, which was in 1995-6, and perhaps unrelated to the ME except perhaps as a partial causal factor (chronic stress damages the immune and endocrine systems and makes biological barriers more permeable, which could allow the entry of substances which trigger the development of autoimmunity).

    I think that brain fog is a central aspect of the illness, and is best tackled through the interventions that help reduce acidosis of the gut and muscles. Thus: low-grain/low-sugar diet, possible avoidance of gluten and dairy, taking supplements like l-glutamine, pacing and resting rigorously, and minimising stress.
     
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  19. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois Prairie ❀❤✿Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ✿❤❀

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    I was not depressed. When they started giving me ADs, I said "I do not have depression, if anything, I have anxiety." I had a constant, low-level, background 'edginess'. I did not fit any of the defined types of anxiety (since I had ME up-regulated ANS) and the SSRIs were the psychs latest toy, so that is what I got. When I refused to take any more of them, I got boring old xanax which helps.
     
  20. Battery Muncher

    Battery Muncher Senior Member

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    Once again, thanks a lot for posting all your experiences! I know this reply is somewhat belated... after a day or two of (relative) energy, I hit a low again... you know how it goes...

    Living dead: Thank you for taking the time and energy to write up that useful list! I will certainly give some of those suggestions a go over the coming weeks
     

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